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Tidying Up The Parade
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Tidying Up The Parade

There's been a definite attempt for the sport to present a more professional and consistent image since Phil Morris was appointed as CEO of the Premiership. We've seen new push-off points in the pits, clocks at the start line and a standard approach to track grading breaks.

There remains room for improvement, particularly during what used to be called 'The Grand Parade' at the start of the evening's entertainment.

While some tracks ask riders to take a slow solo lap of the track, others follow the more traditional approach of lining the riders up along the home straight and introducing them one by one. While both approaches are perfectly fine, the latter tends to descend into an unsightly mess.

On arrival at the tapes, the riders usually spend a minute or so digging their toes into the starting grid, looking for the best launching point for their first race, often obscuring the paying spectators' view of the meeting presenter who is trying to welcome them to the show.

Pirates Go Excavating
Screencap from Pirates TV

When they do eventually take their designated standing point, they often put on their helmet before their own introduction has been made, completely defeating the point of the whole exercise.

The introductions themselves need a bit of work. Some presenters seem to do little more than read out the number and name of each rider in turn.

"At number 7, it's John Smith, at number 6 it's Joe Bloggs, at number 5 it's...."

All over and done with in 20 seconds.

A much better approach is the one taken by some of the more long-standing presenters, who include a couple of bespoke lines of introduction for each rider.

"At number 7 is a man who has been in great form since he returned from injury. He always goes well here and score 8 on his last visit, it's John Smith"

"The rider at number 6 used to be a firm favourite when he rode for us in 2022. He's also now sporting a very flashy new set of bike covers, it's Joe Bloggs".

Takes little extra effort or time.

Even seeing the riders clearly can be a problem at times. They are engulfed by a variety of track staff and mechanics standing amongst them and chatting during the parade. It would be better if the ancillary staff remained in the background until the introductions of all 14 riders have been completed.

Their close proximity to the riders can be explained by their desire to get the riders pushed off at the earliest possible moment, something that has got out of hand now. In a recent meeting some riders had already been pushed off before the home team's number one and two had been introduced!

Over-Eager to Get Going
Screencap from Brummies TV

While that early taste of track conditions will be important to the riders, it need not be so rushed that it impacts on the official opening of the meeting. The referee should allow sufficient time between the end of the parade and the first race to allow the riders to perform whatever testing is required.

Some suggested guidelines, should there be a desire to improve the presentation of the parade:

1) Riders to proceed directly to their designated place in the line-up, without investigating the starting grid on their way

2) Helmets to remain off until all rider introductions have been completed

3) Ancillary staff to remain 2 metres behind the riders until all rider introductions have been completed

4) Upon the completion of introductions, referee to allow riders sufficient time to get ready and perform an unhurried parade lap

 

This article was first published on 2nd April 2024

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  • Jim Henry:

    "There is a really good photo of the scrum that was pushing off riders after the rider introductions at Powderhall. In the early 1980s there were 8 rakers and 8 pushers off to 14 riders. Have a look at the opening page of the Scottish Speedway Riders Association Facebook site. It was great fun and tested your agility. "  

     

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